Unfortunately, I was unable to keep to my regular posting schedule because of a little thing called life.
I flew back from Boston to LA on Thursday night, completely negating any kind of follow-up post I intended to make about Boston on schedule. After that, I was busy with James’ surgical year-end banquets/get-togethers/etc. (Surgeons like to party—and why not? They have it pretty stressful 99% of the time!)
When James was away on Sunday for one of his last calls of the year, I was sure that I’d be able to make up for lost time. And then I got sick.
I hate how unproductive you must be while sick in order to get better. I languished on the couch, unable to read anything because of a headache and unable to sleep because I oscillated between being too hot and too cold. When your immune system is kicking into overdrive in order to fend off whatever is causing your illness, your body is left with exactly zero percent energy. I kept fading in and out of consciousness, hoping that each time I awoke next I would feel better.
As James pointed out later, I probably exacerbated my sickness by not allowing myself enough to eat—did you know that your body needs 1.5x as much food intake as you normally eat because it expends so much energy in rising your overall body temperature? By the time he came home from call on Monday, I looked like a specter. Luckily, he had enough sense to force feed me despite my protests; as much as I hate to admit it, that reason is probably why I managed to recover today.
So what does any of this have to do with food?
Well, less than an hour before I came down with said illness, I had been trying out a new recipe for baked chicken nuggets. Unfortunately, they ended up being the only solid food I managed to eat on Sunday—certainly not enough for a sick person’s metabolism. But as for a healthy alternative that’s low in calories—great for everybody else!
The best part is that you can make a large amount in advance all at once, freeze the leftovers, and use them later at your discretion. No more excuses about healthy food taking more time out of your day—and no more deep-fried pink slime McNuggets. (I’m guilty of loving them as much as anybody else, but I’m moving onto healthier pastures.) My favorite condiment with these nuggets is plain ol’ ketchup, but anything you have on hand will be delicious, I’m sure.
Baked Chicken Nuggets
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Spread the panko bread crumbs over an aluminum foil-lined baking tray and bake for 10 minutes. Make sure you check on the tray after 7 minutes to ensure that the crumbs aren’t becoming too browned!
- After the crumbs are sufficiently browned, remove and mix with olive oil and salt and pepper, to taste. Place in a bowl.
- Increase the oven heat to 450ºF. Place a baking/roasting rack on top of the tray (to allow the nuggets to get crispy on all sides). If you don’t have one, that’s okay! I’ll account for it below.
- Place the flour and beaten eggs into separate bowls.
- Chop the chicken into 2-inch pieces (I used large chicken breasts, which yielded ~25. This may vary depending on the chicken you use!)
- Dip each nugget into the flour first, coating it well.
- Next, dip the nugget into the egg mixture and make sure it is fully coated.
- Dip the nugget into the panko bread crumbs next, pressing the crumbs into each side of the nugget.
- Place the nuggets on top of the rack, then place in the oven for 12-15 minutes. (If you do not have a rack, just flip the nuggets after 8-10 minutes so they have time to get crispy on both sides.)
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a minute or two before handling. Serve immediately!
- If you want to freeze some of the nuggets for later use, simply place on a parchment paper-lined tray after coating with panko and freeze. Make sure the nuggets are at a slight distance from each other so they don’t freeze together. After a few hours, they should be frozen completely—then you can place them all in a bag without the nuggets sticking to each other. When ready to bake, just follow the directions above but add an additional 6-7 minutes for defrosting (frozen chicken takes an extra 50% longer to cook).